Posts in Patents

ITIF Report: The U.S. Underestimates China as an ‘Imitator’ Rather Than an Innovator at Its Own Peril

On January 23, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) published a report entitled Wake Up, America: China is Overtaking the United States in Innovation Output, which applies innovation and industrial performance metrics for comparing relative innovation outputs from foreign technological rivals China and the United States. The report, produced by ITIF’s Hamilton Center on Industrial Strategy, is the latest indicator that China is close to surpassing the United States in terms of innovation output per capita and calls upon U.S. policymakers to develop a national economic and technology policy to restore U.S. dominance in innovation.

New York Court Finds Playlist Patent Ineligible as Abstract

On January 24, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held EscapeX IP LLC’s U.S. Patent No. 9,009,113 patent ineligible as being directed to an abstract idea. The patent covers a process for allowing users to upload “dynamic albums” to be stored on their devices. The district court granted Block, Inc.’s (better known as music streaming platform Tidal) motion to dismiss the patent infringement suit pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. According to the district court opinion, the patent’s specification states that “the patent seeks to remedy certain problems that currently exist with music streaming, including artists’ inability to effectively monetize their music, their lack of control over content once users have downloaded it, and the disconnect between streaming services and artists’ social media pages.”

Bristol Myers Says AstraZeneca’s Imjudo Infringes Yervoy Patent

Bristol Myers filed a lawsuit Monday claiming AstraZeneca has infringed on a patent related to its Yervoy cancer drug. The pharmaceutical company launched the suit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Bristol Myers claimed AstraZeneca’s Imjudo cancer treatment infringes on its patent and that AstraZeneca failed to first obtain a license or permission. The cancer treatment in question is known as cancer immunotherapy, which according to the lawsuit “represents a scientific breakthrough that has revolutionized cancer treatment by manipulating a patient’s immune system to eliminate cancer cells.” Yervoy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), malignant pleural mesothelioma, and esophageal cancer, either alone or in combination with the company’s drug, Opdivo.

‘Shenanigans’ Gone ‘Off the Rails’: PQA Asks CAFC to Step in on Vidal Director Review Sanctions

Following United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal’s December 2022 precedential decision that Patent Quality Assurance (PQA) abused the inter partes review (IPR) process in its case against VLSI Technology, PQA has filed a petition seeking mandamus relief in the matter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Vidal ruled in December that PQA abused the IPR process by filing an IPR and threatening to join a separate IPR against VLSI in order to receive a payout from the technology firm. Vidal also found that PQA misrepresented an “exclusive engagement” with a witness, Dr. Adit Singh, who was involved in another IPR petition against VLSI from OpenSky. She wrote in the decision dismissing PQA from the IPR that, “though the behavior here may not be as egregious as that of OpenSky… I find that PQA’s behavior, nonetheless, amounts to an abuse of process.”

Novartis Asks SCOTUS to Rein in CAFC and Ninth Circuit Approach to Panel Rehearing Decisions

Last week, Novartis Pharmaceuticals followed through on its  September 2022 promise that it would appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) June 2022 decision invalidating its patent for a dosing regimen for its multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya to the U.S. Supreme Court, after the CAFC denied its request to rehear the case.

Brooks Convinces Indiana Court to Transfer Dispute with Puma to Washington

Brooks Sports, a sports apparel company that was sued by Puma SE and Puma North America, Inc. (for patent and trademark infringement in Indiana, won its motion to transfer the case to a new district court on January 20. Judge Richard L. Young of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled Friday that the case will be transferred to the Western District of Washington. Brooks Sports’ headquarters is based in Seattle, Washington. Brooks argued that moving the case closer to its base would be convenient for both parties as well as witnesses. Judge Young agreed and cited Puma’s lack of presence in Indiana as another supporting reason to move the case to Washington.

Federal Circuit Upholds Albright’s Ruling on Denial of Transfer for GM

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied General Motors’ petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel Judge Alan Albright to transfer a patent infringement case brought against GM by Intellectual Ventures (IV) to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. IV sued GM in Albright’s Western District of Texas court for infringing 12 patents covering services and products installed in GM cars, including certain features of GM’s OnStar service. GM moved to transfer the case to Michigan, arguing that “the employees most knowledgeable about the design and development of the accused products and certain third-party component suppliers” are based there. IV countered that GM has “an IT Innovation Center” in Austin, Texas, where employees knowledgeable about the accused technology work.

Darrell Issa Doesn’t Understand That He is the Problem

US Inventor is publicly opposing the appointment of Representative Darrell Issa (R – CA) to Chair the IP Subcommittee due to Issa’s record of IP reforms that are harmful to independent inventors and startups. To accomplish these IP reforms, Issa squelches the voices of independent inventors and startups while amplifying the voices of Big Tech and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled multinationals. Now, in a recent statement, Issa argues that his IP reforms have made the patent system more fair for everyone, even as the facts show he is completely wrong. Issa is unfit to be IP Subcommittee Chair.

New USPTO Tool Aims to Help IP Newbies Identify Their Rights

At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) event in Naples, Florida, on Wednesday, January 18, USPTO Director Kathi Vidal announced that the Office has a new tool, called the Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier, intended to assist those “less familiar with IP” in identifying what IP they have and what rights they need to protect it. The tool also provides basic information on patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyright. Vidal said in a press release Wednesday that anyone “considering starting a business or trying to grow one” should use the tool and that “it’s another example of our work to bring more people into the innovation ecosystem to increase American competitiveness, grow the economy, and solve world problems.” 

Apple Scores Win at CAFC in Split Ruling on Prosecution Laches

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled today in a split precedential decision authored by Judge Reyna that a district court properly found Personalized Media Communications’ (PMC) patent unenforceable due to prosecution laches. Judge Stark dissented, arguing that, although he agreed PMC’s delay in prosecuting its patent was “unreasonable and inexcusable,” Apple failed to establish that it suffered prejudice during the period of delay. PMC sued Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2015, alleging that Apple’s digital rights management software, FairPlay, infringed claim 13 of PMC’s U.S. Patent No. 8,191,091. A jury found that Apple infringed at least one of claims 13-16, but in a subsequent bench trial the district court found that the patent was unenforceable due to prosecution laches under Hyatt v. Hirshfeld.

USPTO-FDA Listening Session: Patient Advocates Want Access, Patent Advocates Want Evidence

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today jointly held an all-day listening session featuring speakers from patient advocacy and industry groups, academia, and brand and generic pharmaceutical companies who weighed in on the relationship between patents and affordable access to medicines. The session was announced via a Federal Register Notice and request for comments on the subject, published on November 7, 2022, stemming from a joint July 2022 announcement that the two agencies plan to execute a number of initiatives aimed at lowering drug prices, as directed in July 2021 by President Joe Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”

New Vision Gaming Tells CAFC Final GAO Findings Warrant Dismissal of CBM Institution

Earlier this month, patent owner and casino game innovator New Vision Gaming & Development filed a reply brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in its latest bid to challenge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) institution of covered business method (CBM) review proceedings brought by gambling product company SG Gaming. New  Vision alleged violation of a forum selection clause in an agreement between the two parties and now also points to a final report of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) as further support for dismissal. New Vision’s most recent brief comes nearly two months after appellee SG Gaming and intervenor USPTO Director Kathi Vidal both filed briefs in the Federal Circuit backing the PTAB’s institution of CBM review proceedings.

High Court Asks for SG Views on Apple’s Petition Challenging Federal Circuit Approach to IPR Estoppel

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday invited the U.S. Solicitor General to provide its views on Apple’s petition asking the High Court to clarify the proper application of estoppel in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The case stems from a February, 2022, decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in which the court issued a mixed precedential decision that affirmed, vacated, and remanded in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. That ruling related to a patent infringement suit filed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) against Broadcom Limited, Broadcom Corporation, and Avago Technologies (collectively “Broadcom) and Apple Inc.

Issa is Not a Fit for IP Subcommittee Chairman

The House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee—Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (IP Subcommittee) writes patent law and is responsible for other patent-related initiatives. A country’s patent laws directly affect its innovation economy. In a free-market economy, patent laws can boost or destroy incentives to invent and commercialize new things. As a result, patent law influences economic and job growth, social mobility, technological advances and national security. The 118th congress has begun. Currently, the Republican Steering Committee is selecting the Chairs for the various committees and filling the ranks with members. The next step is for the Chairs of the various committees to select their subcommittee chairs. In the case of the IP Subcommittee, Jim Jordan is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, so he selects the IP Subcommittee Chair. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the most likely candidate to be selected.

Federal Circuit Upholds Two Courts’ Findings that Remote Training Patents are Ineligible

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today affirmed one district court decision and dismissed another as moot, finding that Riggs Technology Holdings, Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 7,299,067 for remote education and training systems is patent ineligible as it is “plainly drawn to an abstract idea.” Judge Chen authored both opinions. Riggs sued Cengage Learning, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for infringement of the ‘067 patent, but the district court granted Cengage’s Motion to Dismiss based on patent ineligibility. The court held that the patent “is plainly drawn to an abstract idea,” and that “the concept underlying the claims of the ’067 patent—providing, managing, and/or documenting training completed remotely on a handheld device—is akin to those found in claims the Federal Circuit has deemed abstract and ineligible.”